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Dear SSIS Parents –

Just today a group of administrators, including Middle School Principal Molly Burger, Elementary School Principal Dan Keller, Admissions and Marketing Director Katie Rigney-Zimmermann and I, returned to SSIS after attending the EARCOS conference in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. EARCOS (the East Asian Regional Council of Schools) is an association of school serving more than 110,000 students, and served by more than 13,000 teachers and administrators, in our region.

The most frequently comment I hear when I return from these meetings is “Lucky!” As the sunset that serves as the banner for this posting to the community will attest, these conferences are often held in some of the many beautiful locations around Asia. We are all fortunate to be surrounded by the amazing geographical diversity that is Asia.

But before you get too jealous, there is a reason why most of my pictures from these locations are sunsets. The fact is that we are in meetings and sessions all day and rarely get to spend much time outside until the late evenings. These are learning conferences, one in the fall for administrators and another in the spring for teachers, at which we are able to work with experts in many fields and share with colleagues the challenges and successful practices of international education.

I spent my time in sessions on the use of data for continuous school improvement, looking at school projects for expanding student learning outside the classroom, looking at technology and education, discussing crisis preparedness (which we all hope we never have to use, but which is so important for schools), examining changing approaches to strategic planning, and in meetings with fellow school heads from around the region. All of our administrators were doing likewise with their time. We returned last night, tired but excited with new ideas and projects.

So, yes, I am lucky. Not because of the places I get to go, though these locations are filled with the beauty, but because of an extraordinary community of international school heads, administrators, teachers, students and parents among whom I am privileged to work.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Iver Sylte, Head of School

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